Friday, 26 July 2013

A Horseshoe Holiday Part Two: The Newlands Horseshoe. . .

Here's the thing about the Lake District:  Just when you think you've done one of the best walks ever (the Fairfield Horseshoe), along comes another that tops it.  Sometimes it's just the weather or how your legs are feeling or the prospect of tackling a new fell. And sometimes the views are just so, so beautiful they take your breath away.

After a few days in Ambleside, we drove to Keswick to conquer a few more walks and on a perfect summer's day, we set off for the Newlands Horseshoe.  First up is the relatively small, but picturesque Cat Bells.

It's the perfect example of how gorgeous the Lakes look from any height. You don't have to scale the highest peaks to get the best views.  From halfway up Cat Bells you can look towards the lovely Borrowdale Valley . . .

. . . and gaze on ripples upon ripples of fells. . . 

. . . with a backdrop of Keswick, Derwent Water and the Skiddaw range behind them both (this photo is taken a little further on from Cat Bells but the views are similar.

But leaving this behind, we had the biggest bit of the horseshoe to climb.  Here we're ascending on one side with the highest bit, Dale Head,  and the other side to come.

But wait!  The Newlands Horseshoe is cruelly deceptive.  See that tiny tarn down there?  This is where the path lead.  Down and down and down.  Which could only mean a huge steep climb to get back up to Dale Head.  Darn it. 

On the head now looking back at where we've come.  Cat Bells, that tiny little point on the far left of this range looks very far away.

But the Newlands Valley below looks lovely.

And on the other side you can see Buttermere and I believe that pointy bit on the range to the left of the water is Red Pike which I climbed on the Coast to Coast last year.  Again, the geography of the Lake District is becoming more and more familiar to me with every trip. 

One thing to note about this walk if you are doing it clockwise as we did - there's a very, very steep descent with a lot of loose stone, and one I would not like to do in bad weather.  Looking down, it's a series of bumps upon bumps that seem to drop off into space until you get to the end of them and see the next one. 

There's no doubt that this was extremely challenging but I loved every moment of it and THIS is now my new favourite walk in the Lakes.  Photos just can't do justice to the wonderful 360 degree views that you get from almost every step.


David Nolan (David73277) said...

Whilst you are right that photos cannot do justice to the views, your photos and the words that accompany them do a very good job of summarising this walk. I did it in mid-June on what was a warm bright day, though a lot cooler than it has been for the past few weeks. I don't think I would have liked to do it in the current heat. My enjoyment of the walk was diminished a little by the long and tricky way down, I too would not like to make that descent when the ground is wet.

Blithe Spirit said...

Yes, that descent was tricky - I really had to focus especially as I knew I was tired. There were several places where a slip could have led to a bad fall.